South Side Restaurants

The 17th Street Cafe
Located at 75 S. 17th St. (telephone 412-381-4566), this is one of the nicer pubs that has a typical pub menu, but which also offers nice pasta dishes and an everchanging assortment of specials. (This note was from 1996.)

New owners (since 2002) Pat and Brigitte Joyce and Executive Chef Blair Grant have added considerabe sophistication to the menu while maintaining a comfortable ambience.

The 1889 Cafe
The 1889 is located at 2017 E. Carson. The atmosphere is light and airy; there are booths in the front of the restaurant opposite a bar, smaller tables are set up in the back. The menu is American, with salads, burgers, and sandwiches the main focus, but with a creative element not seen in many South Side establishments. This is one of MAYA's favorite stops for lunch. 412-431-9290

***> Sent by John L.Banks at Formerly "My Place"(Ahh, the good old days,) Good food/service, pleasant (informal) comfortable atmosphere, prices are starting to lean "up-scale" (for me at least). The "Chicken Al-La-Demo" is fantastic, when "Demo" himself is holding court your entertainment is assured. I do miss breakfast though, now served only Sat./Sun. (Ahh, those good old days.) (5/29/96)

***> Sent by Shea McKinney at Excellent well priced food. The atmosphere is a little cramped and you will have to wait for a table, but the food was great. Very affordable and excellent service. (3/26/96)

Abbruzzi's is located at 52 S. 10th St. in between E. Carson and the 10th St. bridge. The decor and menu are Northern Italian. This is one of the South Side's nice restaurants; it's also good for a larger group. 431-4511

***> Sent by Teresa McGuire at teresa.j.mcguire@cbisinet: This was a wonderful experience. Althought the front bar area appeared crowded initially, we were seated within 15 minutes of our arrival. During the wait, we received friendly and prompt attention from the manager/owner and the bartender, who put everyne at ease in the small waiting area. We are from Cincinnati, but this is definitely a popular eatery with the locals, as evidenced by the owner walking around greeting and chatting with people. The service continued to be excellent for the duration of ur visit. The atmosphere is casual and homey. The food is authentic Northern Italian, with polenta and risotto on the menu. We ordered a polenta and Italian sausage appetizer, had gorgonzola cheese on our salads, and for the main course enjoyed a veal scallopini with red peppers and artichokes, and n order of seafood pasta with mussels, clams, scallops and shrimp. Everything was mouth-watering delicious. And we rolled out of there for about $35 each. That includes a half carafe of house wine, after dinner coffee and Sambuca, and triple fudge pie for dessert. This is the place to go if you want Italian food in Pittsburgh. (12/16/96)

The Beehive Coffeehouse & Dessertery is at 1327 E. Carson. This is the kind of place that makes you want to drink coffee. Very funky, eclectic decor with games, pastries, and other eatables. Sister establishment to the Beehive in Oakland. 412-488-4483

** In Pittsburgh's Best of 1996: Best Cappuccino, Best Coffee, Best Coffeehouse, Best Place to Hear Poetry

***> Sent by d.m.sero at Hey, trendy? What?! That's okay, they're not the kind of people we want there anyway...I have been hanging out there for quite some time and Melissa makes the best cafe mocha on the planet!!!!!!! And I LIKE the decor!!!!! (10/24/96)
***> Sent by Phil at The best coffehouse I've ever been to. I can hang out at the Beehive for hours at a time ... even if its just sitting there reading through the books, playing pinball, or listening to music. Its especially fun on cold snowy days when you have to walk from the T-stop all the way down E. Carson to finally get a mug of the best coffee you'll ever have. Hope to c 'ya there! (8/28/96)
***> Sent by marilyn Kramer at Greatest coffee house that I have ever been in. Unique, fun, and best coffee in town. I suggest that you also try the Beehive/Bigscreen in Oakland. Wonderful. The owners are the cutest guys in town. (5/15/96)
***> Sent by Betty Cilia at This place needs work! It's filled with smart alec artist-wanna-be's and it smells like a high school gym locker with every person you pass by. I can't take the artsy-fartsy crowd - there's too many of them in one place! However, the iced coffee is the best and they have terrific-huge muffins! (5/8/96)
***> Sent by Kate Kelley at The Bee Hive is never the first place I head for when visiting the South Side, but it's always the last place I hit on my way out. My experience? The later, the wierder. The wierder, the better. Once while there, a foul-smelling drunk old guy told me I had a big nose, just before he asked if I knew where he parked his car.
Especially, in the winter, after a show, a few drinks, a Primanti's sandwhich, and a warm fresh donut from that old guy selling them from the back of his van, there's nothing like coffee and wierdness. Then it's off to breakfast at a Denny's somewhere on the parkway. Ah...what I wouldn't give for a night in the Burgh. D.C. is the worst. Can I move home now? (2/9/96)
***> Sent by Pat Clancy at Very smokey, very noisy, very weird, very warm, very good coffee. (2/28/95)

Birmingham Gallery
Although not a restaurant proper, Birmingham Gallery delivers great food for lunch (and they have a list of specials that changes every day). They are located in a historic building at 20 S. 14th St., and cater special events in the great hall upstairs from the kitchen. 412-481-6680

Located at 1831 E. Carson. Has the classics (wedding soup, linguini with marinara) as well as some more unusual items (veal Zurich). 412-431-3535.

Cafe Allegro
Cafe Allegro is located at 51 12th St. This is one of the pricier restaurants on the South Side, but also one of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh. Their listing in the Food Network says "Cafe Allegro serves Riviera-style cooking -- both French and Italian -- in an elegant setting." In 1997 Allegro was named the "best overall restaurant" for the fifth year in a row by Pittsburgh Magazine's readers' poll. There is emphasis on grilled items (fish, veggies) and pasta. Well worth a trip. 412-481-7788

Note: They are not open for lunch.

***> Sent by James Stepanek at Cafe Allegro is an upscale restaurant featuring California Gourmet style food. The food is quite well prepared and presented and the wine list is quite satisfactory. The service is also quite nice. All in all a nice place to have a fancy meal. It is not inexpensive. (2/27/95)

Cafe au Lait
The Cafe au lait is on 13th at Carson, where Java 13 had been since it replaced the Interstellar Cafe.

***> Sent by Jesaca on 6/14/01: There's a Starbucks on Carson now, and Cafe Au Lait has a bar in the back called "The Roman Room."

***> Sent by a friend: The espresso drinks are okay, though the shots are pulled too long for my taste. I have only been there a couple of times under the new ownership ... it's hard to stay loyal to a place that keeps changing hands. The decor is remarkably similar to the last two cafes there, and the front room is confortable, and not too packed. I think there is currently some outdoor seating, which is nice on the south side if you don't mind bus fumes in you lattes. The back room is for smokers, and is uncomfortable and cramped. As a smoker, i hate being shuffled into dark rooms without any windows or upholstered chairs. But, since the smokers are hidden in the back, this place is a good alternate for the folks who don't like the noise or smell of the beehive. Not a reason to travel down to the South Side, but not a waste of time to stop. (9/5/98)

***> Sent by Jennifer Bradley, As someone who used to spend a great deal of time at the old Interstellar Cafe and at Java 13, I find the new Cafe Au Lait to be somewhat comfortable, but I agree with the commentary above, it is difficult to be loyal to a business that keeps closing and reopening. I prefer it to other coffeehouses when I need to get work done, however, I am a smoker, and it is really difficult to feel welcome when you are stuffed into the back room (which I refer to as "The Cave"). You can't be entirely comfortable when you feel that the management could care less about you. (3/9/99)

***> Sent by Terry Kedley, Cafe au Lait has gone down the tubes. While other cafes have been routinely selling out to the pressure of adding a bar to their coffee house appeal, it would be a breath of fresh air if a coffee shop decided that they could stand on their own two feet and not just do something because, "everyone else is doing it." The atmosphere has been killed due to the recent addition of the "Roman Room." Cafe au Lait has moved from a decent coffee shop/hangout to another run of the mill, follow the crowd shop. When I want to go to a coffee shop, it is usually to avoid the loud drunkenness in the bar scene. If I wanted to go to a bar, then I would go to a bar. Since the addition of the bar to Cafe au Lait, patronage has definitely decreased and the commercialism is threatening to choke the rest of us out. (4/5/00)

Chan An
Chan An's is located in the Giant Eagle plaza near the intersection of 20th and Wharton Street. They have some tables, but primarily do a takeout business for surrounding neighbors. Chinese food fanatics will find this fare Americanized, but it's certainly passable for Pittsburgh and a pretty good buy for lunch. 412-381-3188

***> Sent by patrick kennedy at Highly recommended. Once trendy decor now slightly dated, but food matched all expectations. Best Hot and Sour soup in Pittsburgh, excellent spicy Kan Sau Ming Shrimp. Orange Chicken (General Tsao) also good. Around Chinese New Year go for the special 'authentic' menu - truly memorable. Last time I was there the service was great, although for an Asian restaurant the waiters were far too intelligible. (Apologies to the PC Generation.) Unsurpassed in the UK. (9/1/95)

City Grill
The City Grill is located at 2019 E. Carson. Their specialty is hardwood grilled meat and fish, along with a variety of pasta dishes. Funky decor. This is one of MAYA's favorite stops for lunch. 412-481-6868

***> Sent by Stephen Tokar at Has any one but me noticed that their sandwiches are getting a tad smaller. Altho' the approximate same menu as Tessaro's in Bloomfield, The City Grill is now noticably less. (2/16/97)

***> Sent by Lizzie Roberts at The best steaks in town - a mesquite grill - great dinner salads - gourmet cheesecake for dessert - excellent chefs - prices good for the food, but slightly higher then average because of quality. (3/16/96)

Cucina Rustica
Cucina Rustica is at 1105 E. Carson; it is the restaurant side of Rustica International, an organic/natural food store. You order food at the deli counter and then take it to either an indoor table or to one of the tables on their outdoor patio out back. They have a variety of sandwiches, salads, and entrees.

The Deli
The Deli, on 17th and East Carson, was reviewed thusly by an anonymous Southside resident and surfer: "Man oh man, their sandwiches are good! They are easily one of the finest delis in the country (I've been to the famous ones in Manhattan)." (1/6/98)

Grecianland Pastries
1500 East Carson Street, delicious coffee and pastries.

Green Front Inn
The Green Front Inn is located at 2341 E. Carson. This is a family-owned and operated place to get Eastern European "soul" food, like meat loaf, pierogies, and stuffed cabbages. Very casual decor. 488-3140

***> Sent by Steve Tokar at Just had lunch there, nothing really special. In fact I defaulted to the hot beef sandwich which was $4.79. Portions were good. One other had the meat loaf dinner. He thought it was about the same as most places. Thought the Pleasure Bar's in Bloomfield was better. For the money I would just as soon go Fatheads, City Grill, etc. Their menus are more varied and unique than this place. (4/25/96)

***> Sent by Ron Masztak at Probably one of the best places to drink and have a good time if a big crowd is not your thing. Great specials all week long and the food is also good. An eight out of a possible ten. (8/31/95).

Hunan Gourmet
Hunan Gourmet is located at 1209 E. Carson. [ Haven't been there yet. ]

Janet's Cafe
Janet's is located at the corner of 9th and E. Carson. There really is a Janet, and she serves traditional Middle Eastern food like hummus, falafel, and tabouleh. Very casual dining room. 412-381-5308

Janet's Cafe is gone - a city salt truck smashed through the front over a year ago. It has since reopened under a new name.
***> Sent by Jesaca (6/14/01).

Angry Johnny's Southwestern Grill
Located between 15th and 16th on E. Carson, the most recent incarnation is Angry Johnny's. (Jimmy D's is no more - only the upstairs remains. The downstairs bar/restaurant has changed three times in the past year.) Beer is a bit pricey, but they've got some great Tex-Mex food, and they don't skimp on the portions.
***> Sent by Jesaca (6/14/01)

Kassab's is a jem of a place with Middle Eastern dishes as well as American food. All reasonably priced and great taste. Kassab's is located on 10th and Carson Street. It's a BYOB place. The daily specials are out of this world. Raw Kibee, Chicken & Potatoes, Wild Rice w/veggies, and Lamb Shank. Very good prices.
***> Sent by Kelly Prilla (10/1/99)

Le Pommier
Le Pommier is located at 2104 E. Carson. This is one of the pricier restaurants on the South Side, serving a French-based menu. We had a fantastic spinach, walnut, and goat cheese salad here for dinner recently. They also serve lunch. 412-431-1901

Lee's Coffee Shop
Lee's is at 2116 E. Carson. I haven't been here yet, but a coworker stopped by and noted that he was the only one eating in the place. The rest of the crowd was there to hang out and socialize. Clearly the place to go if you want to schmooze with the locals.

Mallorca Restaurant
Mallorca is at 2228 E. Carson. This is one of the pricier restaurants on the South Side, serving a Spanish menu. They have outdoor dining in warmer months. Menu is interesting, decor is impressive (if a bit stuffy with all those formal *male* wait staff), but alas, both my and my companion's shrimp were overcooked at lunch when we last ate there. Very nice presentation of the food though. 412-488-1818

***> Sent by Betty Cilia at This place has been a favorite of mine ever since they've opened their doors. The service is excellent, although some people feel it is stuffy. I've never felt that way. The waiters are accommodating, handsome and they make you feel like a lady when they are serving you. The food is plentiful and delicious. I highly recommend the pork chops in garlic sauce, the garlic soup (sopa de ajo) and for starters, try the shrimp in garlic. They honestly give you so much shrimp, that you must share it with the rest of your table - it's way too much to finish by yourself. I particularly like the house wine, which I can't pronounce. It's red and very tasty! (7/10/96)

***> Sent by Craig Stokes at Mallorca must have the best Spanish food in town ... it's the only Spanish restaurant. The food is decent but at times more Portuguese than Spanish. It can be a bit expensive. The best bet is to go between 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday when they have "tapas". These little appetizer-like plates will fill you up and cost you much less than than a full meal. That's Mallorca in a nutshell. (4/5/95)

Old Europe
Located at 1209 E. Carson (formerly Mandarin Gourmet), a very nice restaurant opened called Old Europe - only they close at 9.
***> Sent by Jesaca (6/14/01).

Mike & Tony's
Mike & Tony's is at 1414 E. Carson: the home of the gyro.

***> Sent by Ron Michalak at I have been a South Side native for 18 years, and no matter where I go, I can not find a better gyro then the one at Mike & Tony's. The workers there are some of the friendliest you'll meet. It is truly amazing at lunch time when Debbie remembers everyoe's orders without even writing a single one down. Make this one of your personal treasures and stop in sometime. But don't sit at the table by the window looking out to Carson Street. That's mine! (11/25/96)

***> Sent by Kyriako Damavoletes at KDama: Mike & Tony's has the best gyro in town. The friendly owners, the special sauce, and the best tasting shish-ka-bob in Pittsburgh make this restaurant an excellent place for an informal evening night out on the South Side. (5/29/96)

***> Sent by Doug Staut at As far as I'm concerned, Mike and Tony's has the best gyros in the world. (2/14/96)

Page Dairy Mart
While you might not think of their location as the South Side (what with it being half-way to Homestead), Page Dairy Mart has been serving ice cream and burgers at the corner of E. Carson and Becks Run Road for forty-five years! Stop by on your way home to the South Hills from the beginning of March through the end of October. 412-431-0600

***> Sent by Jennifer Petrie: I've been going to Page's my entire life, and it has always been my favorite place for soft serve ice cream. It has much more flavor than Dairy Queen, plus the prices are lower! I love nothing more than a vanilla cone with crunchies (Twinkle Kote for those who have been getting cones as long as I have...), but Chuck Page has about every variety of ice cream treat you could want, plus a few things you didn't expect. Try it, you'll love it! (1/24/01)

Paparazzi is located at 2100 E. Carson. The menu is Italian, with many Northern Italian offerings. Besides traditional salads, baked bread, and pasta dishes, they also serve pizza and calzones. 412-488-0800

***> Sent by JOHNPERT at JOHNPERT@NB.NET: Large portions, good food, tables are rather close together is the only problem. (4/13/96)

Pittsburgh Steak Company
Pittsburgh Steak Company is located at 1924 E. Carson. As you can guess, their menu predominates with red meat. The inside is quite nice, lots of dark wood and pseudo-leather; the sort of place that businessmen in suits tend to frequent for power lunches. 412-381-5505

The Pretzel Shop
located at 2316 E. Carson St. (tel: 412-431-2574)

***Sent in by Zach, a former Sah-Side resident. I noticed the South Side Pretzel Shop isn't listed on your South Side website. I highly recommend The Pretzel Shop, located at 2316 E. Carson St. (tel: 412-431-2574), they have excellent freshly baked pretzels from their stone hearth ovens in the back of the store, and they also carry an assortment of cookies, pretzel-related items and drinks. Be sure to pick up a FREE packet of mustard while there for your yummy hot pretzels!

Primanti Bros
This is behind the Blue Note Cafe at the corner of 18th and E. Carson. I haven't been yet, but some netizens don't think putting up shop across the street from FatHead's was a great idea. On the other hand, they are famous for their sandwiches (if you think fries and cole slaw on a sandwich is a good idea). 381-2583

** In Pittsburgh's Best of 1996: Best Sandwich, Best Pittsburgh Specialties

***> Sent by kelley at We have eaten there on countless occasions at many different hours of the day and WE LOVE IT! It's the "best sandwich in Pittsburgh". Cole slaw and fries on a sandwich are AWESOME, who are you guys kidding? You can get a beer and a sandwich for five dollars and the place is so popular you can walk in at 3 o'clock in the morning and the place is standing room only! A must try in the Burg! (6/28/96)

Tuscany Cafe
Located at 1501 E. Carson (412.488.4475), Tuscany Cafe has taken over the site of the former Arabica store. They have retained the emphasis on brewed beverages (coffee, caffe au lait, espresso, cappucino, and so on) and added a cafe-like menu to go along, including sandwiches on rustic bread, pizza on very thin crust, and a variety of salads. Should be a good choice for before or after a night at City Theatre.

***> Read the Review by Deborah McDonald, March 10, 1999: "It's Kinda Like a Club Down in Old SoHo"

***> Sent by Jesaca on 6/14/01: Tuscany now has a liquor license and serves dinners.

***> Sent by Jennifer Bradley, I love this coffeehouse. Since I abandoned the Cafe Au Lait (due to the lack of comfortableness), I have spent a great deal of time there. It is perfect for getting together with people, especially since I have an equal number of drinking and non-drinking friends. The back area near the bar is comfortable, the service is friendly, and the bartenders that they have had there have been wonderful. It is also a great place to get work done as there are usually several people getting homework and the like done there as well. The new owner has really gotten things together since Tuscany opened. The atmosphere is wonderful, and you are always made to feel welcome and appreciated. (3/9/99)

Zenith Tea Room
Located at 86 South 26th Street (corner of Sarah and 26th, 412.481.4833), the Zenith Tea Room is one of Pittsburgh's best kept secrets. A genuine vegetarian resource and restaurant, with a varied menu including vegan, a huge drink selection, art exhibits, and a wonderful Sunday brunch. Their web site is very cool, with a pictorial tour and the full menu available. Since the menu changes every Thursday, once you are hooked on the place you can join the Zenith Menu List at the web site, and receive the updated menu by e-mail!

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